Unlike the editorial board of Forum Communications, I don’t think Doug Goering’s “work ethic” and supposed “knowledge of all aspects of agriculture and agribusiness” is good enough reason to reelect him as Agriculture Commissioner. Nor does his weathering “mini-storms” of his own making mean he the right choice for our state’s top farmer.
I agree with the Forum that Ryan Taylor “brings an impressive record to his candidacy. He knows farming and ranching, ag policy and the rapidly changing energy sector in the state.”
Don’t let Taylor’s cowboy hat and folksy manner fool you. He is highly intelligent, well-educated and articulate. He is honest, thoughtful, and a committed public servant. He is not naive about the challenges of balancing the interests of oil development and farming. In 2013 Taylor received a Busch Fellowship to study and compare our state’s energy policies and the way the Norwegians have successfully developed their oil resources. He has used his studies to develop well thought-out proposals for the coexistence of oil development with farming and ranching.
The Forum Communications Editors qualified their leaning toward the incumbent by saying, “Taylor has advanced good ideas, but they sometimes stray from sensible regulation of a vital industry to anti-oil rhetoric.”
The Commissioner’s role on the Industrial Commission is an important one. The Forum editorial board did not specify which of Taylor’s proposals are “anti-oil.” Perhaps they were thinking about Taylor’s “Farmers’ Bill of Rights” or his proposals for looking at oil as a “one time harvest.” The person elected as the Ag Commissioner is charged with putting the interests of agriculture ahead of other industries’. The Ag Commissioner’s job is to be “pro-agriculture.” If that looks “anti-oil” when conflict arises, that’s just as it should be.
His prejudice towards agriculture makes Ryan Taylor exactly the kind of Agriculture Commissioner we need in North Dakota.